why we exist

The issues we're working to address

The prevalence of mental health and wellbeing issues is similar across Australian communities, but the impact runs far deeper in rural and remote communities. Social, economic and geographic barriers to help-seeking prevent many from accessing support, leading to poor mental health and wellbeing outcomes.

Suicide rates in remote and very remote areas are
times higher than in major cities
the median age of Western Queenslanders* compared to the Queensland median age of 37 years
Psychologists per 100,000 people in very remote communities compared to 73 in major cities
%
of families in West Queensland Primary Health Network catchment had a household income of less than $33,800 per year.
%
of very remote children considered developmentally vulnerable in one or more domains
%
of people in West Queensland highest level of school of year 11 or 12 compared to the Queensland average of 58.9%.
%
unemployment rate in West Queensland compared to 6% in wider Queensland.
%
of people living in West Queensland are at risk of developing a mental health disorder.
Suicide rates for 15-24 year olds in West Queensland are
times higher than the Queensland average for the same age group.

* Western Queenslanders refers to people living in the West Queensland Primary Health Network region.

Understanding our young people's mental health and service needs

The heart and strategic direction of Outback Futures is bush-informed by our experiences and conversations with people and communities in rural and remote Queensland. Broader research, such as the ReachOut Australia and Mission Australia ‘Lifting the Weight' report, also help shape our understanding of the unique needs of our outback family in the areas of mental health and wellbeing.

Young people living in regional and remote areas identified many benefits of living in these areas, including appreciating the slower pace of life, the opportunities to be outdoors and to connect with nature, and the strength of their relationships with family and friends in their communities. However, challenges were also identified, such as feelings of loneliness, isolation, boredom and aimlessness due to a lack of social, recreational and/or employment opportunities. (Executive Summary, pg 6)

When young people living in regional and remote areas were presented with a range of issues, the top three things they were very or extremely concerned about were coping with stress (42.2 per cent), school or study problems (36 per cent) and body image (30.4 per cent). In addition, approximately one in four young people in regional and remote areas were very or extremely concerned about depression, and approximately one in seven were very or extremely concerned about suicide. (Executive Summary, pg 6)